David C. Stark
David Stark is Arthur Lehman Professor of Sociology at Columbia University where he directs the Center on Organizational Innovation. Stark uses a variety of methods to study problems of valuation, innovation, and observation.
Stark recently completed a major research project on Diversity and Performance: Networks of Cognition in Markets and Teams supported by a five-year Advanced career Award from the European Research Council. The project studied the network properties of cognition as organizations face three challenges of detecting error, allocating attention, and organizing innovation. As part of this project, he recently edited The Performace Complex: Valuations and Competitions in Social Life (Oxford University Press, 2020). With Noortje Marres he co-edited Put to the Test: Critical Evaluations of Testing, a Special Issue for the British Journal of Sociology, 2020). With Sheen Levine and Charlotte Reypens he published “Racial Attention Defecit,” in Science Advances (2021).
In his book, The Sense of Dissonance: Accounts of Worth in Economic Life (Princeton University Press, 2011), Stark carried out ethnographic research in three distinct settings to study how organizations and their members search for what is valuable. Dissonance – disagreement about the principles of worth – can lead to discovery. On a related topic, he co-edited Moments of Valuation: Exploring Sites of Dissonance (Oxford University Press, 2015).
With continuous support from the National Science Foundation since 2000, Stark and his collaborators are contributing to the field of economic sociology. With Balazs Vedres he has published papers on historical and cultural network analysis in the American Journal of Sociology (2006, 2010, and 2015) and the American Sociological Review (2012). With ethnographer Daniel Beunza he has contributed to the social studies of finance. With Co-PI Matteo Prato, Stark is working at the intersection of observation theory and network analysis to study how valuation is shaped by networks of attention.
With Sheen Levine, he used experimental methods for a study, “Ethnic Diversity Deflates Price Bubbles” (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). Findings from this study were presented in their co-authored OpEd piece “Diversity Makes you Brighter” published in the New York Times on the day of the oral arguments at the US Supreme Court in the case of Fisher v U of Texas. That PNAS article was also featured prominently in an amici curiae brief filed by 200 US corporations in support of affirmative action in another recent case before the Supreme Court.
Stark collaborated with art photographer Nancy Warner to publish This Place, These People: Life and Shadow on the Great Plains (Columbia University Press, 2014).
Stark was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2002 and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the École normale supérieure de Cachan in 2013. He has been a visiting fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Studies) in Berlin; the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris; the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto; the Institute for Advanced Study in Hangzhou, China; the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne; the Copenhagen Business School; the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study; the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City; the Institute of Advanced Study in Durham, UK; the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand; the European University Institute in Florence; the Institute for Advanced Study/Collegium Budapest; the Center for the Social Sciences in Berlin; the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna; and Sciences Po, Paris.
Ph.D., Harvard, 1982